Terrorism: October 3, 2001

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US Forces Prepare For War

@ B-1B bombers have been sent to Diego Garcia (a British Island in the middle of the Indian Ocean), Saudi Arabia, and England. (France would not allow B-1Bs to carry weapons through their airspace in the Kosovo War; it is not clear yet if they will allow it this time.)

@ B-2A bombers have been sent to Diego Garcia.

@ Equipment is in the region for an entire Army division, including a brigade set on ships, one in Qatar, and another in Kuwait. A division headquarters will be deployed to control ground troops.

@ The annual Bright Star exercises are being wrapped up in Egypt, but the US troops sent to that country won't be going home any time soon.

@ Available air bases include the French base in Djibouti, the British base on Diego Garcia, the Turkish base at Incirlik, British bases on Cyprus, bases in Kuwait and Bahrain, and the Saudi base at Jedda. The US will probably gain access to a Pakistani base but will use it only for refueling tankers and long-range helicopters. India has offered the use of its bases, but Arab countries have threatened to walk out of any coalition that involves India or Israel. Dushanbe in Tadjikistan is also apparently available; it has been used for years by that nation, India, and Uzbekhistan to fly supplies to the Northern Alliance. 

@ There is increasing evidence that Iraq has been supporting the al Qaeda network, providing money, fake passports, intelligence, and logistics. This will probably be used as an excuse to use the forces deployed to the region to completely destroy the Iraqi air defense network, and there is talk of creating a "No Drive Zone" in Iraq in which all moving vehicles would be attacked.

@ The National Imagery and Mapping Agency has completed about half of the 9,000 target data maps requested by military planners. These locate key targets in three dimensions within nine meters.

@ The first 16 Patriot-3 missiles (with enhanced anti-missile capabilities) are being rushed to the region.

@ Both Seawolf submarines have been certified to carry Tomahawks; their locations are not known.

@ Britain has sent its largest naval task force since the Falklands War to the Gulf, including the carrier Illustrious and the helicopter carrier Ocean.

@ The US is reportedly recruiting Turkish special forces for operations inside Afghanistan. The Turkish troops are experts at this sort of thing (having practiced against Kurds for decades) and having an Islamic nation involved in the operation is a big plus.

@ As large as all of that operation is, another equally large operation (involving special forces, nighttime supply flights to the Northern Alliance, and other clandestine moves) is being conducted entirely out of sight. US Green Berets and SEALS are already operating in Afghanistan, as are British and Australian SAS troops.--Stephen V Cole

While the military doesn't expect that the war on terrorism will provide it with all of the money it needs to rebuild, it does see some serious funding increases in key areas.

@ Production of precision-guided weapons will be accelerated to build up wartime stocks and provide those weapons for the current need. The military wants contractors that build these weapons to have an immediate surge capability to increase production by 30 percent on demand.

@ Spare parts stockpiles dropped rapidly over the last six years. The military wants the shortage made up as quickly as possible, noting that sustained wartime operations cannot be conducted at the current readiness rates.

@ Serious upgrades are needed for the manned bomber fleet to enable it to conduct missions against the latest air defenses and to allow them to use the Joint Standoff Weapon and the Joint Air-to-Surface Weapon. 

@ The Air Force wants more aircrews as the planes can fly more missions than pilot exhaustion would allow a single crew to perform.

@ Quick upgrades are intended for the RC-135 Rivet Joint and E-3 AWACS planes. New sensor pods will be added to U-2 photo recon planes.

@ Production of heavy penetrating bombs (able to crack thick bunkers or deep caves) will be accelerated.--Stephen V Cole



 

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